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Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley

M.G. Siegler, writing on Medium:

There’s something that has been in the back of my mind for some time now. And while it pre-dates the Facebook fiasco, that situation certainly brings it to the forefront. Increasingly, it feels like people in our industry, the tech industry, are losing touch with reality.

You can see it in the tweets. You can hear it at tech conferences. Hell, you can hear it at most cafes in San Francisco on any given day. People — really smart people — saying some of the most vacuous things. Words that if they were able to take a step outside of their own heads and hear, they’d be embarrassed by.

What Did the Stoics Think About Fame?

Daily Stoic:

Much of Stoicism has to do with reacting to what comes at us with equanimity and poise. But this, too, is important: Quelling and quieting that voice in your head that becomes seduced by the desires for accolades and applause. You don’t need them. You think you want them but that’s because you don’t actually understand what they are. In truth things are nothing by themselves. In practice, they are liabilities and not assets.

A Gentleman’s Guide to the NBA: When Players Agree to Take Plays Off

Bleacher Report:

Thanks to Jokic, Bell learned earlier than most this important lesson about NBA life: In a sport in which games can last nearly three hours and seasons almost nine months, it becomes essential to save strength for the more important moments. After all, 100 percent effort on 100 percent of plays would sap even the greatest of deities of their godly gifts and transform contests into stumbling slogs.

And so to avoid this descent into the mud, many players strike unofficial pacts with their opponents. Possessions are punted, secrets are traded, game plans are passed along. It’s not that these players don’t care about the outcomes of games. Think of it, instead, as a sort of gentleman’s pact between players, one governing action across the NBA.

I found this article fascinating.

Watch MLB TV in Picture in Picture on a Mac

Six Colors:

It’s baseball season again, and there’s some good news for people who use MLB TV to watch out-of-market games on their Mac: This is the year that Major League Baseball has finally ditched Flash or Silverlight or whatever they were previously using for desktop streaming. This is nice, because it means I can use Safari (my preferred browser) rather than Chrome (which I keep around for sites that aren’t compatible with Safari or require Flash). But there’s a great side effect: It finally gives Macs the ability to do what iPads have been able to do for a couple of years, namely pop a baseball game into Picture in Picture mode, so it floats above other windows on your screen without any browser chrome getting in the way. […] Still, I was able to enable the Picture in Picture mode by using PiPifier, an app in the Mac App Store that adds a picture-in-picture button to the Safari toolbar.

You can grab the extension here. It works great.

Clueyness: A Weird Kind of Sad

Tim Urban:

At the time, my dad didn’t think much of it—pretty normal day in their lives. But later on, he found himself remembering that day, and he always felt bad about it. He pictured his father sitting there at the table, now alone, with all the cards and pieces laid out. He pictured him waiting for a little while before accepting that it wasn’t gonna happen today, then collecting all the pieces and cards he had laid out, putting them back in the box, and putting the box back in the closet.

Pretty random story for my dad to tell me, right? The reason he did was because it was part of a conversation where I was trying to articulate a certain thing I suffer from, which is feeling incredibly bad for certain people in certain situations—situations in which the person I feel bad for was probably barely affected by what happened. It’s an odd feeling of intense heartbreaking compassion for people who didn’t actually go through anything especially bad.

I do this all the time.

The Intellectual We Deserve

Nathan J. Robinson:

Jordan Peterson appears very profound and has convinced many people to take him seriously. Yet he has almost nothing of value to say. This should be obvious to anyone who has spent even a few moments critically examining his writings and speeches, which are comically befuddled, pompous, and ignorant. They are half nonsense, half banality. In a reasonable world, Peterson would be seen as the kind of tedious crackpot that one hopes not to get seated next to on a train.

But we do not live in a reasonable world.

If You Truly Care About Speech, You Will Invite Me to Your Office to Personally Call You a Dipshit

Alex Pareene, writing at Splinter:

Bari Weiss, an editor for the Times opinion section, has written a column about the incident, arguing that these students, who asked that Sommers not address their school, then heckled and insulted her (as she insulted them), and then finally let her speak and engaged in dialogue with her, fundamentally don’t understand how “free speech” works.

“Yes,” Weiss says, “these future lawyers believe that free speech is acceptable only when it doesn’t offend them. Which is to say, they don’t believe in it at all.”

I couldn’t agree more: If you think offensive speech shouldn’t be aired in certain contexts and venues, you don’t believe in free speech. Which is why it is incumbent on Weiss, and her bosses, to ask me to come to the offices of the New York Times and give a talk to the editors and columnists of the opinion page about how stupid they are.

It is absolutely necessary, for the sake of democratic ideals, that the staff attend my talk, and they must listen politely (and quietly) as I condescendingly dismiss their idiotic worldviews and personally insult them. They cannot yell at me or express indignation in any way. For them not to allow this to happen would be an alarming sign of the decline of liberalism in the West.

This whole piece if fantastic.

Everyone Is Going Through Something

Kevin Love, writing for The Player’s Tribune:

On November 5th, right after halftime against the Hawks, I had a panic attack.

It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before. I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed.

I’ve never been comfortable sharing much about myself. I turned 29 in September and for pretty much 29 years of my life I have been protective about anything and everything in my inner life. I was comfortable talking about basketball — but that came natural. It was much harder to share personal stuff, and looking back now I know I could have really benefited from having someone to talk to over the years. But I didn’t share — not to my family, not to my best friends, not in public. Today, I’ve realized I need to change that. I want to share some of my thoughts about my panic attack and what’s happened since. If you’re suffering silently like I was, then you know how it can feel like nobody really gets it. Partly, I want to do it for me, but mostly, I want to do it because people don’t talk about mental health enough. And men and boys are probably the farthest behind.

The NBA’s Obsession With Wine

Baxter Holmes, writing at ESPN:

At the Cavs’ morning shootaround before their loss in Sacramento, Wade, sitting along the sideline, about six weeks before being traded back to Miami, is asked who on the Cavs knows the most about wine. Without hesitation, he points at James, who stands across the court. “He knows a lot. It’s just something he don’t want to share,” Wade says. “But when we go out, it’s, Bron, what wine we getting? You ask most of the guys on the team who orders the wine, we leave it to him to order.”

Indeed, among the Cavs, the legend of LeBron’s oenophilia is large.

As Love says, when it comes to wine, “Bron has a supercomputer in his brain.”

This is a really great article.

What to Bring to a Gun Fight

Dan Pfeiffer:

The fatal flaw in the Democratic strategy is a failure to heed one of the key lessons of twenty first-century American politics: Democrats never win when they fight on Republican terms.

Republicans have defined the terms of the debate on guns and instead of trying to change those terms, we have resigned ourselves to playing on their turf. The Democratic approach to guns is one of the last vestiges of the mushy strategic applesauce that dominated 1990s DLC-style centrism—the only way to beat Republicans is to try to sound more like them. It is a defensive posture borne of a defeatist mindset that is more a product of Democratic psychology than of political reality. Democrats speak softly and carry a small stick to the gun fight because they have convinced themselves that Republicans have the law, politics, and a presumption of victory on their side. The truth is less daunting, but unless Democrats come around to that truth, the presumption of Republican victory will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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Everything Easy is Hard Again

Frank Chimero, writing on his blog:

This past summer, I gave a lecture at a web conference and afterward got into a fascinating conversation with a young digital design student. It was fun to compare where we were in our careers. I had fifteen years of experience designing for web clients, she had one year, and yet some how, we were in the same situation: we enjoyed the work, but were utterly confused and overwhelmed by the rapidly increasing complexity of it all. What the hell happened?

Great post.

Your Twitter Followers are Probably Bots

Elaine:

The New York Times had an interesting feature over the weekend in which it calls out various social media influencers for follower fraud. Many people who appear to have huge Twitter followings actually don’t, and their fans are in fact paid-for bots. Oooh, busted! Apparently there’s a class of people who make a career out of being popular on Twitter, and it is terribly scandalous that they are not as cool as they might seem. […]

The NYTimes analysis is compelling, but their target account selection was awfully limited. So I reproduced their Twitter tool to continue the investigation.

This is pretty cool. I’ve told this story before, but a few years back we ran a story on AbsolutePunk.net about how a certain band member in a certain band had most certainly paid for followers on Twitter. His (very mature) response was to buy a bunch of followers on my account. To this day I don’t really know how many were part of that (I tried to block and report a bunch of them at the time), but I do know that once my account got “verified” I see random, clearly bot, accounts start following me all the time.

Jason Tate’s Top Albums of 2017

Best of 2017

Well, 2017 happened. I think that’s about the best thing I can say for the entire damn year: it happened. While I’ll look back at 2017 as a bullshit year full of bullshit people doing bullshit things at a rate that can only be described as a national emergency, I’ll also remember the year for its pretty impressive musical output. I hope, in time, my love for the music that came from 2017 and my relationship with it, will be what I remember most. Below I cataloged my favorite albums from 2017, some of the albums I enjoyed but couldn’t really find a place in my top thirty, and some movies, TV shows, books, and apps that discovered for the first time this year.

There is also an episode of Encore all about my end of the year list and thoughts on music in 2017 — you can check that out here.

Thank you to everyone that visited the website this year, everyone that supports us, and for another extremely successful year of Chorus.fm. We’ll be extremely lucky if 2018 brings us even a fraction of what 2017 did music-wise. I wouldn’t mind a whole lot less of chaotic hellscape on a daily basis, but that’s just me.

Craig Manning’s Top Albums of 2017

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a music year quite like 2017. In terms of personal classics, it didn’t stack up to my favorite music years on record, like 2004 or 2015. But for maybe the first time ever, I would have been comfortable putting just about any album from my top 30 in my top 10. Indeed, every record up to about 19 or 20 was ranked in my top 10 for at least one draft of this list. Clearly, the breadth of good music from this year was stunning, and I feel fortunate to have been able to experience it.

Above all, this year was one of huge discovery for me. Of the 40 artists featured below, only 18 have made year-end lists of mine in the past. A few of the remaining 22 were artists I’ve known for awhile who realized their considerable potential in 2017. Most, though, were completely new finds for me, and a fair handful released debuts. Looking at those numbers, I can’t wait to see what new things will grace my ears in 2018. For now, though, I’m bidding farewell to 2017 by recounting the music that played as my life soundtrack during it. Here’s hoping my discoveries can become yours.

Drew Beringer’s Top Albums of 2017

It’s been discussed ad nauseam in nearly every year-end review: 2017 was the pits. And those sentiments aren’t wrong! 2017 sucked! We elected the worst president in this country’s history and we have a government trying to rob its citizens of basic rights. The world is melting around us while California burns to the ground. Things are bad! And outside of my wife, family, and friends, very little this year helped take things out of the shit. The major thing that helped get me (and I’m sure countless others) was the musical output of 2017 — there was an overwhelming amount of incredible stuff released over the course of 12 months and almost impossible to notate all. So instead of boring you with a list of my 100 favorite albums, I cut it down to the 10 that most impacted my life in 2017. Enjoy this list, feel free to share and discuss with me, and hope for better in November.

Becky Kovach’s Top Albums of 2017

For all the shit that 2017 put us through, it also gifted us with some truly incredible moments. Here’s to the albums that (in my opinion) made the bad a little more bearable, and gave us reason to reason to believe that better days are still possible. Thank you for inspiring us.

Aaron Mook’s Top Albums of 2017

Kevin Abstract is the ringleader of predominantly queer, self-described “All-American Boy Band” BROCKHAMPTON, who broke into the mainstream this year with a show on Viceland, numerous music videos and three studio albums, each one more killer than the last. He also can’t drive. To most, this detail is unimportant, but to me, someone who has struggled with driving anxiety and the shame surrounding it as I approach the age of 23, it means the world. It means that my flaws do not define me and that I also have the capability to work hard and utilize the resources around me to create something artistically satisfying.

If that seems heavy, well, 2017 was a heavy year – heavier than 2016 and with 2018 showing no signs of lightening up. Ironically enough, 2017 was a year of accomplishment for myself; I graduated from college, moved away from my hometown and worked on two studio albums, one of them being my own dream-pop debut and another being a friend’s hip-hop project. But BROCKHAMPTON has inspired me to push even further. I’ve recently taken to writing in a notebook, detailing the things I want to create (a podcast, a film script, the next Flower Crown LP) and the steps I need to take to get there.